It would not have been pretty if the Philadelphia 76ers(13-12) lost to the Lakers(10-15) on Friday night. Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the fourth; they had a 16-point lead with just under five minutes to go, and the Sixers led by nine points with 34.8 seconds left in regulation.
Then, it got crazy. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times in the final 30 seconds of the game. Ultimately, the Lakers had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but Anthony Davis missed one of two free throws, and the game would go into overtime.
In OT, James Harden would score nine of his 28 points to go along with 12 assists, and Philly would outscore the Lakers 13-2 to win 133-122 at Wells Fargo Center.
“We will take the win, and one thing that I will say is that usually when you give up a lead like that, to gather yourself and play well in overtime is rare,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I told our guys that we were very proud of that. Just the mistakes we made down the stretch, very similar to the Houston game; we have to fix that.”
Joel Embiid added: “We were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Honestly, I think we had a bunch of turnovers, and we should have never been in that position. I’m glad we had another opportunity, and it went to overtime, and we closed it out.”
The first quarter was all about Embiid, who scored 20 of his 38 points in the first quarter. According to Embiid, he wanted to set the tone for the team.
“I tried to send a message to my teammates,” he said. “I often hear a lot about how I’m actually due to be the best offensive player, the best defensive player, playmaking, leadership; it’s a lot to deal with, but you know I like the challenge.”
The third quarter was all about D’Anthony Melton. He scored 16 of his 33 points in the third quarter. In addition, according to Stathead, Melton is the first 76er in franchise history to post 30-plus points, eight-plus three-pointers, and seven-plus steals in a game. He joins Michael Adams as the only NBA players ever to do so in league history.
“On offense, my teammates were just finding me,” Melton said. “They kept leaving me open, so I just kept shooting it and shooting it with confidence. We got so many guys that draw attention that it opens up space for other players. Tonight, was my night and my teammates kept finding me, and I kept finding the open spot. “
In the future, Philly has to be stronger with the ball. They ended the game with 23 turnovers, and those turnovers almost cost them in the end. Philly’s seven-game homestand, which could help the team string together some wins, continues on Sunday against the Hornets.